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Greek Epic Fragments: From the Seventh to the Fifth Centuries B.C. (Loeb Classical Library) Hardcover – 18 Mar 2003


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Loeb (18 Mar. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674996054
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674996052
  • Product Dimensions: 16.7 x 11.3 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 312,203 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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A magnificent achievement...As one would expect of a scholar of West's distinction these are accurate, keenly alive to each nuance of the Greek...Scholars owe a considerable debt of gratitude to West for [this] new Loeb.--Richard Whitaker "Scholia Reviews "

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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Lawrance Bernabo HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on 26 Sept. 2004
Format: Hardcover
We can only imagine how many countless millions of students have read the "Iliad" or some version of Homer's epic poem and were surprised to find that the story of the Trojan Horse is not part of the tale. While the two heroic epics ascribed to Homer are the only extant examples of the genre there are other such works, telling not only about other parts of the Trojan War but also about Heracles, Theseus, and the city of Thebes. In "Greek Epic Fragments: From the Seventh to Fifth Centuries B.C." edited and translated by Martin L. West we these extant fragments, placed in historical context.
In his introduction West characterizes these poems as "redactions of traditional material" from the archaic period that include poems that narrate a particular heroic episode or series of episodes along with poems that recount the histories of families or people. These fragments constitute an important part of the mythological record, especially with regards to those that tell the story of the rest of the Trojan War. Those were what I was interested in tracking down, but you may well have other interests, so here is a list of what you will specifically find inside in this collection:
The Theban Cycle is represented by "Oedipodea"; "Thebaid" tells of the Seven Against Thebes; "Epigoni" is about the sons of the Seven Against Thebes; and "Alcemonis.
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Amazon.com: 5 reviews
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Fragments from the Trojan Cycle and other epic poems 26 Sept. 2004
By Lawrance Bernabo - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
We can only imagine how many countless millions of students have read the "Iliad" or some version of Homer's epic poem and were surprised to find that the story of the Trojan Horse is not part of the tale. While the two heroic epics ascribed to Homer are the only extant examples of the genre there are other such works, telling not only about other parts of the Trojan War but also about Heracles, Theseus, and the city of Thebes. In "Greek Epic Fragments: From the Seventh to Fifth Centuries B.C." edited and translated by Martin L. West we have the original Greek and translated versions of these extant fragments, placed in historical context.

In his introduction West characterizes these poems as "redactions of traditional material" from the archaic period that include poems that narrate a particular heroic episode or series of episodes along with poems that recount the histories of families or people. These fragments constitute an important part of the mythological record, especially with regards to those that tell the story of the rest of the Trojan War. Those were what I was interested in tracking down, but you may well have other interests, so here is a list of what you will specifically find inside in this collection:

The Theban Cycle is represented by "Oedipodea"; "Thebaid" tells of the Seven Against Thebes; "Epigoni" is about the sons of the Seven Against Thebes; and "Alcemonis." The Trojan Cycle features: Stanius' "Cyrpia," where Zeus plans with Themis to bring about the Trojan War, including the Judgment of Paris (Alexandrus); "Aethiopis" by Arctinus of Miletus, follows up on the "Iliad" with the death of Achilles and the fight over his armor; "The Little Iliad" by Lesches of Mitylene, has the death of Ajax, Odysseus stealing the Palladium out of Troy, and the Acheans leaving behind the Trojan Horse; and "The Sack of Iliom," also by Arctinus of Miletus, tells of how the Trojans brought the horse into their city and were destroyed. It also includes "The Returns" by Agias of Troezen; Eugammon of Cyrene's "Telegony," which picks up on the end of "The Odyssey"; and "Thesprotis."

A section devoted to Poems on Heracles and Theseus has "The Capture of Oichalia" by Creophylus, "Heraclea" by Pisander, "Heraclea" by Panyassis, and "Theseis." Under Genealogical And Antiquarian Epics there are works by Eumelus ("Titanomachia," "Corinthiaca," "Europia"), Cinaethon, Asius, Hegesinous, and Chersias, along with fragments from "Danais," "Minyas," "Carmen Naupactium," and "Phoronis." The collection ends with Unplaced Framents, most of which are ascribed to "Homer." That means West dos not include any Hesiodic fragments or any from poems that are historical and technical (i.e., not strictly mythological).

I understand that West has made some choices in terms of what to include or not include that scholars will find debatable. Michael J. Anderson of Yale University enumerates these choices in his review of the volume for the Bryn Mawr Classical Review, but obviously neither my interest nor my knowledge allows me to join in on that conversation. I simply appreciate being able to have access to the original fragments to muse over when we study the Trojan War in my Classical Greek & Roman Mythology course each semester and I rethink again how I think all of these bits and pieces best fit together.
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Ian Myles Slater on: Bits and Pieces 10 May 2004
By Ian M. Slater - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I opened a review of M.L. West's edition and translation of "Homeric Hymns. Homeric Apocrypha. Lives of Homer" (Loeb Classical Library No. 496) with a bibliographic note that applies to this volume as well:

Back in 1914, the Loeb Classical Library issued, as volume 57 of the series, "Hesiod, The Homeric Hymns and Homerica," edited and translated by Hugh G. Evelyn-White. A revised and expanded edition of 1920 included a substantial appendix of newly published fragments from Greek papyri; this appendix received a further supplement in 1936, edited and translated by D.L. Page. The volume was reprinted at intervals thereafter (my copy is from 1967), but without updating.

So much for the repeated information.

As was the case with the volume of "Homeric Hymns" (etc.), this is a whole new edition of part of the contents of the older, single-volume Loeb edition, along with some additional material. "Greek Epic Fragments" (LCL No. 497) is made up of the summaries and snippets which are all that survive of a body of narrative poetry outside the familiar "Iliad" and "Odyssey," dating, at least in theory, from Archaic and early Classical times. The works represented concern not only the Trojan War, but also the earlier wars of Thebes, the Voyage of the Argo, and the adventures of such heroes as Herakles (Hercules) and Theseus, and some lesser-known material. Some of the stories survive in other forms, including the famous, or relatively well-known, "Argonautica" of Apollonius, Virgil's "Aeneid," Statius' "Thebaid," and many of the extant Greek tragedies, and in more obscure works, such as the "Posthomerica" of Quintus of Smyrna. Ancient scholars sometimes noted borrowings or divergences, information preserved as marginalia ("scholia"), and embedded in other works.

For the most part, however, we are fortunate when we have spare prose summaries of what was in each of the epics, versions from late antiquity preserved under the name of Proclus. These seem to be based at least in part on the works of Alexandrian scholars, who had access to manuscripts of the works in question. The learned travel writer Pausanias supplies some valuable quotations, with critical comments, and there are a variety of other incidental sources, plus invaluable parallel versions in the "Library" of mythology attributed to Apollodorus. Among recent studies of the problems this presents, Timothy Gantz's "Early Greek Myth: A Guide to the Literary and Artistic Sources" is comprehensive and relatively accessible.

The whole harvest, however, even counting some works included by West, although usually considered too late to belong to this group, fits on about a hundred mass-market paperback sized pages of Greek text. (For those not familiar with the Loeb series of small hardcovers, the Greek and/or Latin text is printed on the left-hand page, facing an English translation on the right side.)

Nothing, therefore, is going to make this particular volume thrilling reading. Unlike some of the Loeb editions of the tragedians and lyric poets, it is pretty clearly for the serious student, or the enthusiast (like me), not the ordinary literate reader. West, however, presents it clearly, and the edition marks a much-needed advance on Evelyn-White's venerable, but, in my experience, frustratingly antique, version.

On technical points, I must defer to qualified reviewers in the classical journals (see, conveniently, Michael J. Anderson in the on-line "Bryn Mawr Classical Review"); the initial response seems favorable, with the usual number of suggested alternative readings of the evidence. West has previously edited and / or translated Hesiod, the "Iliad," and a substantial body of lyric verse. I am certainly not about to challenge the distinguished editor's decisions!

Despite some residual grumblings about paying for three new books to replace one volume, I look forward to the forthcoming Loeb "Hesiod."
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Review of Loeb's 'Green Epic Fragments' 8 Aug. 2010
By Ryan Mease - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Here is a piece of quality scholarship from M. L. West, who gathers a variety of small, fragmentary reports (mostly Hellenistic and late ancient) regarding the epic cycles surrounding Homer. This is essentially an anthology of the remaining evidence for the Homeric cycle beyond the Illiad and Odyssey, as well as a discussion of the poets who wrote on these stories. Further, West includes sections on Hesiodic/geneaological epics and the cycles of Theseus and Herakles.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Learn to read Greek too! 17 May 2007
By T. Johnstongg - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
If you've gotten this far you must know the story of "the Trojan War" is more than just the Iliad and the Odyssey, quite a bit more actually. This book will fill in everything else about the Trojan Cycle. It's presented with the right page in English and the left page in Greek as written. I thought this was nice to be able to see the original text. Throw in the Theban Cycle and some poems about Heracles and Theseus and this small green book has a lot of punch.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
If you are interested in the story of troy, 5 Dec. 2012
By Thomas W. Blakey - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
this is a great supplement to other literature. Loeb is almost always dependable. The title is accurate. These are fragments. They make you wish the other poems of the cycle had survived.
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